Generation of Swine – Hunter S Thompson

Gary Hart is the hot option now, the new and sudden front-runner in a field that was not impressive. They were rookies and amateurs, for the most part – Eastern senators and Western governors with a sprinkling of low-rent Southerners who would “give the ticker some balance,” as they used to say at the Capitol Hill Hotel, in the good old days, when men were men and women worked on their shoulder blades – Generation of Swine: Gonzo Papers, Volume 2 – Tales of Shame and Degradation in the ’80s, Hunter S Thompson, p 63.

Noel Fielding, Lust Bag 2011

I have long been a fan of a good, healthy celebrity crush. For many years I hid my shame, the shame of preferring unattainable celebrity boys to normal, possibility-of-an-actual-relationship boys. Not anymore. Now I let that freak flag fly, baby.

At work my team and I have plastered every flat surface with pictures of our celebrity crushes. All we need to do is finish the roof off, and we’re pretty much working in my bedroom circa 1995 – 2000. Personally, I like to swap things up, so I tend to focus decorating my own desk with my celebrity crush of the week, a rotating roster of über-sexüal men of the celebrity persuasion.

This week I found myself arriving very late to the party that is Oh Lordy, Could Noel Fielding Be Any More Sexually Attractive? The initial tests I carried out suggested that no, Noel Fielding could not be any more sexually attractive. However, like all good sexual scientists, I left the possibility of being wrong open. And my dear friend Meesh threw just the required variable into the mix. Turns out that Noel Feilding, dressed as Kate Bush, dancing to her hit ‘Wuthering Heights’ is about 150 per cent More Sexually Attractive than normal Noel.

Please, behold. Ladies, I warn you, this may make your panties go ping:

Basically I have spent the past two days watching parts 0:50 – 0:58 and 1:30 – 1:45 over and over again. Oh Noel Take Me Fielding…

Then I found myself alone on this here Friday night and I thought to myself, if I can not have Noel, then I should emulate Noel. And so I did.

Dear PJ Harvey,

I feel like we’ve known each other long enough for me to say a few things. First, you’re looking very well, I suspect you take some form of vitamin supplement, or maybe you stand on the cliffs of Dover and let the salt water spray blast the years right off of your face. Am I close? I think so.

Secondly, I am really enjoying your latest album Let England Shake. Let it shake indeed. It came just as I started to get a grip on White Chalk too, learning to appreciate its stark bleakness. I’m glad I have grappled and succumbed to these albums, because you gave me quite the scare with Uh Huh Her. Please don’t judge me, I didn’t overdose on the sweet saccharine of sunset cityscapes of Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea, although it was the soundtrack to one of the most turbulent years of my life. No, I have always been a bigger fan of the electronic, cold, damp evil that is Is This Desire? It is indeed PJ, it is indeed.

It’s just… that man. You know who I mean. You mentioned him in the notes for the album. You don’t remember how he gloated about writing those overly complimentary lines about his looks, specifically so he could hear Christina Ricci say them to the character he himself played? No? I do. I had to sit through that movie on a school night, and it ran over time and my dad was waiting outside and we all know that D-Bomb is just the kind of dad who’d actually come into the theatre and drag his kids out if he couldn’t be bothered waiting. And all the while That Man was all ‘Whine, whine, whine, indy blah blah’. Ugh, shut your face or I’ll shut it for you, as the kids in the playground would say.

Thus, I was left unable to  feel that album the way I wanted to. All this has changed though and you’re back and I sit at home, alone on Friday nights and I make Black Russians and I lie next to my big lounge room window and I watch my neighbourhood and the sun set and I listen to Let England Shake and I think about how sad it all is, but how it also feels kind of good.

On this note, I’d like to mention that I’m not going to be in the country in October, I’m going to experience some of the Stories From the City myself, so please, my Black Hearted Love, don’t tour here then.

Much love,

Julia

Mr Rollins

I have some bad tattoos, wear a lot of black and have an overinflated opinion of my ability to write. Basically I am Henry Rollins – Julia, March 8th, 2010.

I have a long, complicated relationship with Henry Rollins.

I’m not the only member of my family prone to bouts of insomnia, and so it was late one night, some time in the mid-’90s, when I found myself with one, if not both of my parents in our lounge room, watching a Rollins spoken word piece that ABC were playing before Rage started.

I had no idea who Rollins was. I’d never heard of Black Flag or the Rollins Band, but there is no doubt the dude had stage presence and his stories were an odd blend of serious and funny, all delivered at a rapid pace, at the top of his lungs.

The thing about it was, without knowing who he was, or why Rage was playing him, all of us really liked it. It was pretty much the only time I bonded over pop-culture stuff with my Dad, at least, until a few years later when we sat up for three consecutive nights and watched the Godfather trilogy together.

Since then I’ve listened to Henry’s music, suffered through his books [the man can write, don’t get me wrong, but the earlier stuff isn’t exactly uplifting] and seen him perform spoken word three times now. I also interviewed him once for work, a not altogether pleasant experience. Thankfully it was via email and his at times biting responses to what I thought were legitimate questions were easier to take from the safety of an Internet connection and many hundreds of kilometres between us.

I saw his latest show on Tuesday night, a small tour, for which he had requested small venues. Sydney got The Gaelic Club, and 200 seats on each of the two nights. 200 hard plastic garden chairs. Ouch.

The tour was a kind of celebration of him turning 50 and his way of thanking the people who’ve been coming to his shows for years.

Every time I’ve seen him, or I listen to recordings of his shows, I’ve immensely enjoyed the experience. I find him motivating, and sincere in his optimism for a better world. Sure, I find his sentiments a little trite and naive at time – his love affair with Sydney seems to have blinded him to any social issues we have here, or perhaps he doesn’t want to preach at a crowd of people who not only live here, but have paid to have a night away from their reality – but there’s something about being yelled at by a black-clad, heavily tattooed man who wrings the life out of every second of every day of his life, that just makes you want to do the same.

 Undoubtedly I’ll see him perform again next time, and while I wait, I have countless CDs and DVDs to get me through, and maybe because I’m lurching towards a milestone age myself, this time I think I’ve walked away feeling less ‘Well that was another great show!’ and more ‘What happens if I do live my life by the WWHRD* motto?’

*What Would Henry Rollins Do?

Cleanliness is next to godlessness

When I was in kindergarten, I lived in a motel with my family. Well, my parents ran the motel, so strictly speaking we lived in a flat attached to the reception of the motel, but I think we can all agree that near enough is good enough.

My bedroom had curtains with silhouettes of horses printed on them and it was in this room that I first felt the heavy hand of obligation.

I was trying to make my bed before getting ready for school. Now, when you grow up in a motel, you don’t just smooth the sheets and pull the covers up. You make the bed with military precision. When you get into bed at night, you should run the risk of having your sheets strangle you. This particular morning; however, nothing was going right and as I fussed about the bed, I remember thinking ‘I’m not even sure I’ll have time to eat my Weet-bix. I’m going to have to go to school hungry because I must get this right‘.

Back in the day, when I had to clean my room, I used to think it was fun to pretend the Queen was coming to visit. The Queen is probably less anally retentive than my mum about cleanliness, so I can only imagine that should the Queen have ever visited one of the countless bedrooms I had as a kid, she would have been very impressed.

These days, I motivate myself to clean by imagining that someone might drop around unexpectedly. A friend, neighbour, gentleman caller [I put this one in for my mum’s benefit] and being that I am verging pretty close to the precipice of crazy cat lady, I like my unit to reflect the possibility that actually, I live a very sophisticated single lady existence in which I read the classics and collect art [albeit art that included photos of abandoned hospitals and scary illustrations of characters from literature].

With this in mind, it is not infrequent that I find myself lying to my workmates on Fridays and saying things like ‘Oh, no thanks, I’m meeting very important people for cocktails at [insert name of Hemmes owned bar that I would never actually be allowed to frequent]’ when really, I going home to clean.

It was this cleanliness addiction that led me, several weeks ago, perriously close to the embarrassing death I had always assume would befall me.

I clean in an order: kitchen, lounge room, bedroom, bathroom. I do the bathroom last because it’s the grossest and I actually get in the shower to clean it, so the whole cleaning experience ends with me getting to have a shower. Logical.

On this particular Friday, everything was going smoothly until I got to the bathroom. I was clearly working out some angst about something, because I was scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees, and it was then that my hair got caught on the toilet roll holder, and there I sat, on all fours, my nose mere inches from the toilet seat, unable to untangle my hair. ‘This is it’ I thought, ‘This is the end I always knew was coming. Steph and Joel will come home in a few hours and find me like this, starved to death, the cat looking at me and licking her lips like I’m some kind of roast chicken feast. My family are going to shake their heads and say they always knew I wasn’t fit to live alone’.

The thought of my brother-in-law and my always impeccably styled sister seeing me in my granny undies on the floor was enough to shock me out of this daydream and with a renewed will to live, I tore my hair out of the toilet roll holder and swore never to tell anyone what nearly happened to me.

So please, feel free to keep this to yourself.